The learning experiences of Latina leaders negotiating cultures
Darbisi, Benny Carolina
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the learning experiences of Latina leaders who work in community development in the Southeastern United States. The research questions that guided the study were: 1.How did Latina leaders learn to negotiate between cultures to practice their leadership skills? 2.What factors influenced the leadership practices of Latina leaders in communities? Interpretivism and feminism were the guiding theoretical frameworks for this study. Nine Latina leaders were purposefully selected to participate in this study. Primary methods of data collection included in-depth interviews, field notes, and document analysis. Data was analyzed inductively using the constant comparative method. Analysis of the data revealed four main themes about the learning experiences of Latinas in their leadership practices between cultures. For research question one, the main theme is Using Latina Specific Strategies to learn to navigate their leadership practices among different cultures. For research question two, three themes were identified to understand the factors that influence the leadership practices of Latina leaders. The themes are: 1) Navigating the Intersecting Dynamics of Gender and Ethnicity, 2) Lifting up the Community through Quests for Learning, and 3) Developing Leadership Practices around the Prismatic Reflections of Family. Five major conclusions were derived from the findings of this study. The conclusions that can be drawn about the learning experiences of Latina leaders are: 1) Latinas’ specific strategies to negotiate leadership practices between cultures are unique to their lived experiences in the Southeastern United States; 2) Latina leaders’ intersecting dynamics of gender and ethnicity challenge their leadership practices; 3) Latinas’ leadership practices spring directly from their cultural roots and values; 4) Spirituality and connectedness shape Latina leaders’ learning experiences, and 5) Latina leaders’ learning experiences and leadership traits create a model for emancipatory leadership.